Derivative Dolly: “Annabelle” (2014) Review

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On Saturday I watched Annabelle (2014) for the first time. This was my latest DVD screener I received from my job to review. Annabelle is both a prequel to and spin-off of The Conjuring (2013) and was inspired by the real doll Annabelle. Upon its release I wasn’t really looking forward to this movie as much as some were. The trailers looked fine, but I didn’t have much confidence in the movie. The terrible reviews it got weren’t helping either. I ended up not seeing it in theaters.

Well I’ve seen it now and I was really disappointed by it, but I can’t say I’m all that surprised. Annabelle is nowhere near as good as the far superior The Conjuring, this ‘spin-off/prequel’ was obviously trying to bank off a popular gimmick. Considering how well it did financially at the box office, the makers definitely succeeded. But I can’t say the same about the actual movie. The story is interesting to follow but it never tries to be original or break new ground. There are a couple of well executed and genuinely scary moments, but also a whole lot of cheap jump scares. The acting was okay, I liked the performances of Annabelle Wallis (“Mia”) and Alfre Woodard (“Evelyn”). The soundtrack was pretty good. For a movie titled “Annabelle” you would expect that it would almost entirely focus on the doll itself, but that was definitely not the case here. The doll itself was pretty much in the background the entire time…

Its a shame to see a horror movie unabashedly borrowing elements from better horror movies like Rosemary’s Baby and Insidious. Annabelle is very predictable and overall its just not frightening, haunting or even remotely memorable to be in the same league as The Conjuring. It barely gets a pass from me… I’d say its worth a rental at most. Instead of watching Annabelle, watch The Conjuring. Already seen it? Then wait for the sequel!

Wanna read some more reviews of mine? Visit Ferdi’s Movie World and you can find plenty of more!

-Ferdi Akkulak

First Look: “Dismembering Christmas” Teaser Trailer

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We are pleased to bring you the first look of our newest horror feature from Slasher Studios: Dismembering Christmas. Make sure to like the film on Facebook for updates on the upcoming slasher as well as pick up your limited edition Dismembering Christmas t-shirt today. It’s going to be a gory good time!!

A Disease You’ll Want to Catch: “It Follows” (2015) Review

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The film follows Jay (Maika Monroe), a young, friendly, and genuinely happy girl. One night Jay goes on a date with a young man and the two end up having sex. Upon doing so she gets knocked out. When she awakens, it is revealed to her that “it” has not been transferred to her. She is told that “it” will continue to haunt her unless she passes it on. However, if the person who currently has “it” is killed by it, the person prior will also die and continue down the line. Jay then begins to find herself being stalked by mysterious presences. She then enlists the help of her friends in order to help escape the curse.

It Follows is written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. I’d read a great amount of buzz about this film and I became extremely excited for it. The film did not disappoint at all. The story is an extremely cool concept. It takes the idea of sexual activity and the diseases along with it and flips it. The film is truly terrifying in that there is so much that is left unknown. We only get a vivid idea of what “it” is, but we are left just as clueless as Jay. It is because we are left with this unknown feeling that help make the film extremely terrifying. The whole film kept me on the edge of my seat with many intense and scary moments.

I won’t reveal any of these moments because they have to be seen in order to be felt. The presences that Jade sees are much more terrifying than I expected, a lot of this is due to how they are presented. Again, I won’t reveal exactly what makes them terrifying, because again, it has to be seen to understand. It is essentially something almost out of someone’s nightmare (ironically Mitchell was inspired to make the film because of a nightmare he had).

We are also given a group of VERY likable characters. Jay is an extremely likable lead and we really become connected to her and hope she makes it out okay. She is also played amazingly by Maika Monroe. Monroe is truly a discovery and a very talented actress whom I hope to see more of in horror. Hell, more of in general. The friends that the character Jay has are also extremely likeable. They come off a realistic and they are hands down the most dependable friends I’ve seen in a horror film. More often than not, the friends will believe the lead is crazy and don’t believe her. Here, they stand by Jay throughout the whole film and do what they can to help her.

Each of the actors provide great comedic timing with some of their lines, and you can really feel the chemistry amongst the group. Just a brilliant cast and performances. One thing that I just marveled at during the film was the EXCELLENT score. I cannot stress enough how amazing it is. It’s so perfectly used in the scenes and also what makes the scenes so chilling. It gave me the same feel as the scores of Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street and some of Texas Chain Saw Massacre combined with Suspiria.

Luckily I was able to catch an early screening of it at the Fargo Film Festival a whole week before its actual release. The producers did a Q&A after the screening and revealed that a lot of their inspiration for the film as far as its atmosphere and tone and filming style came from classics like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream. This I agree with wholeheartedly, I could totally sense elements of each of these films in it. Which also added to one of the reasons I genuinely loved the film. It Follow is easily the best original horror film I’ve seen in a LONG time. It is genuinely scare, has some good laughs, great characters and story, and solid performances. It is a film that will definitely stay with you after you see it.

–Cody Landman

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“Dismembering Christmas” Indiegogo Ends on Friday the 13th

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Last month we finished production on our second Slasher Studios feature film, Dismembering Christmas. We had a bloody blast making this holiday horror film and we can’t wait to show all the slasher fans out there the final film. In order to get the film out to as many people as possible, we are looking for a little extra help in raising money for our blu-ray release. If we can raise $1500, we can make an additional 300 blu-rays to give out to backers as well as take to horror cons. We have some once-in-a-lifetime rewards available to so check it out and thanks for supporting indie slashers!!

Become an Indiegogo backer today here: Dismembering Christmas Indiegogo

About the film:
In 2013, Slasher Studios we released our first slasher feature entitled Don’t Go to the Reunion. After playing in over a dozen film festivals and winning several awards (including Best Actress at Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival and Audience Choice at Killer Film Fest). Now, we are ready to deck the halls with lots of bodies!

A tribute to the glory days of holiday horror, Dismembering Christmas can best be described as Friday the 13th meets Black Christmas. Have you ever wanted a Friday the 13th set in the winter? Well..so did Slasher Studios and that’s why they created this movie just for you. Practical effects from beginning to end, likable characters, and a kick ass final girl…what more could you want in a slasher?

Plot:
It was supposed to be a holiday vacation they would never forget, not a holiday vacation they would never survive.

When Mark and his friends go up to his fathers new vacation home for Christmas vacation, they were ready for a fun time. Out in the middle of nowhere, the house is cheerfully decorated for Christmas. But an unknown visitor is there, and one by one they are murdered. Its Christmas and not a creature is stirring except the killer in the house…

DONT FORGET:
Our top backer on this campaign will receive the below Jason handpainted artwork by Zachary Allen. This is a once in a lifetime chance to own a kick ass piece of art. The winner of the painting will be announced the day after the Indiegogo campaign ends.

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Indie Horror Spotlight: The Nightmare Man

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At Slasher Studios we like to spotlight up-and-coming horror films that we think are working checking out for all the horror fans out there. Today we are taking a look at The Nightmare Man, a new film written and directed by Jason Harlow, that has mere hours left on Indiegogo to raise funds. This sounds like a killer movie and for fans of Slasher Studios, they even have some Don’t Go to the Reunion & Dismembering Christmas signed posters as rewards. Check it out below and remember to keep supporting indie horror!

From The Nightmare Man creator:
Hello, my name is Jason Harlow, and I am the writer/director of The Nightmare Man. With The Nightmare Man, my team and I want to make a film that is not only original and unique, but also 100% serious in tone and remarkably terrifying. We’ve already assembled an insanely talented cast and crew; all we need now is the funds to get this thing rolling.

We are looking to raise $13,000 to help cover the cost of special effects, post-production, catering, transportation, and locations, as well as the many other grueling costs we may be faced with over the course of the production of this film. Donations begin at just $1 and any donation of $50 or more will result in your name being listed in the closing credits! If you want to be a part of a ridiculously memorable supernatural horror film, here’s your chance.

The film follows a man named Jonathan Nelson, who has spent his last few weeks suffering from insomnia. He soon begins to have trouble distinguishing the difference between dreams and reality after having a series of disturbing dreams orchestrated by a creepy figure known as THE NIGHTMARE MAN.

Become a backer: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-nightmare-man-feature-horror-film
Like The Nightmare Man on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thenightmaremanmovie

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Wes Craven

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On a special director themed episode of Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield and Andrew Beirl their favorite and not so favorite films from director Wes Craven. Reviewed on the show are Cursed, My Soul to Take, Last House on the Left, Shocker, and Red Eye…as well as a mini rant about the MPAA. Click on the link below to listen to an archive:

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Wes Craven

Insane In the Membrane: “Stonehearst Asylum” aka Eliza Graves (2014) Review

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Last Tuesday I watched Stonehearst Asylum (2014) for the first time. This was the first Blu-ray screener I received from my job to review. When it first came out in theaters I had missed it. I remember it coming out a week before Halloween last year. I knew nothing about the movie and the poster looked interesting but far from appealing. I did like the cast however but it didn’t seem like a movie that was worthy of being seen on the big screen. Well I’ve checked it out and I must say that Stonehearst Asylum is a good movie, but not great. The acting performances are solid, especially those from Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess and David Thewlis. I did like the fact that this movie is based on the short story “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” by Edgar Allan Poe. This movie was very stylish in its costumes and settings. The camerawork by Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Vanishing on 7th Street, The Call) was very good. The story, while interesting on paper, feels stretched out thin for the movie.

I really liked the sudden plot twist at the end of the movie. Stonehearst Asylum is not a movie I’d consider ‘horror’ but more of a ‘mystery/thriller’. I also thought the movie was very tame for a PG-13 flick, especially due to the lack of blood and some jump scares. This movie could’ve been better if it had a faster pacing, the running time should’ve been shortened by at least 10 minutes. Because I hardly knew anything about this movie I was still hooked from the beginning till the end. It is good to have seen once, there is a good balance between psychological thriller and drama. I would recommend Stonehearst Asylum, but don’t expect too much from it as it ultimately played very safe.

Wanna read some more reviews of mine? Visit Ferdi’s Movie World and you can find plenty of more!

–Ferdi Akkulak